CAROLINA CRISIS: THIS IS BIGGER THAN YOU By Michael...
Cotto Shocks Martinez in The Garden!
Sergio Martinez came into this fight as the recognized champion and even though he was 39 and coming off knee surgeries; he was the favored. His mobility would be the key factor against Miguel Cotto, who was moving up to Middleweight. Martinez showed evidence of his age in his bout against Martin Murray and while he was winning against Chavez easily; he got caught in the last round and barely survived the round. The quickness seemed to be slowing evaporating but he still found a way to win his bouts against Murray and Chavez despite hitting the canvas.
Cotto won his last bout against Delvin Rodriguez but lost previously to Austin Trout and Floyd Mayweather. For Cotto, this could have been his final shot at a championship. The first round set the pace for the rest of the fight and set the stage for one of big upset of the year. Cotto started fast as he threw hard rights and left hooks within the first minute, Cotto sent Martinez down with a left hook to the head. With minute and half left, Cotto stun Martinez with another body shot and dropped Martinez for the second time with a second left hook. Another left hook sent Martinez down as it looked like Martinez right knee buckled. Three knock downs in the first round and Martinez barely survived.
Cotto cut off the ring and nailed Martinez with body shots while Martinez attempted to jab. A Cotto right appeared to knock Martinez down but it was ruled a slip. By the end of the second round, Martinez looked like a shot fighter. Throughout the third round, Martinez seemed to push back clock as he used his maneuverability to connect. While Cotto cut the ring off, Martinez turned the third round into a fight.
Throughout the fourth and fifth round, Cotto punches showed more power as he proved the stronger of the two fighters but Martinez managed to occasionally land his own shots to make the fight competitive. Martinez started the sixth round by landing shots and connected throughout the round as he made this round the most competitive of the fight.
In the seventh round, Cotto outbox the boxer, Martinez as he used the effective footwork developed by his new trainer, Freddie Roach. Throughout the eighth round, Cotto looked relaxed and match Martinez jabs for jabs. Martinez predicated the ninth round for his stoppage of Cotto but throughout the ninth round, Cotto forced Martinez to move backwards. Martinez attempted to box but a Cotto’s right shook Martinez followed by a left uppercut. Cotto continued to batter Martinez as he lands one power shot after another. One big left hook sent Martinez down for a fourth time but Martinez showed heart as he got up.
In between rounds, Martinez corner made their own assessment and decided that after the pounding Martinez took, it was over. The corner stopped the fight and Cotto became the first Puerto Rican fighter to win titles in weight divisions and did it in one of boxing hallowed grounds, Madison Square Garden. Cotto looked like he pushed back five years as he looked as good as he ever did. Was this part of this due to Martinez finally surrendering to father time. Past knee operation hinder Martinez mobility and the speed that made him one of boxing most elusive fighters no longer existed. He was far too easy to hit and this certainly was a factor in Cotto’s win. For Cotto, don’t look for a fight with Gennady Golovkin but Team Cotto may be looking for a bout with Saul Alvarez or a rematch with Mayweather. Freddie Roach who now train Cotto believes the new Cotto can beat the older Mayweather. Martinez was one of the better Middleweights over the past four years but the natural ability that allowed him to fight in his unorthodox fashion disappeared and rarely does a nearly 40 year old fighter regain what was lost.